7 things I did to improve my squats

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When I began my sessions my squat sucked. I could barely raise any weights and though it is a crucial part of any gym routine I was happy to skip it but is avoiding it the solution? Is there a better way out? Well if you too want to get better at it and do it right now I have got good news for you. Today I am going to share with you the 8 changes I made to go from a newbie to a being a pro.

I avoid shrugging

The first and foremost rule, there is no place for shrugging. That is not the solution to placing the bar securely. Instead what you should be doing is make a counter on the back to hold it. For this you need to be tight, now move your shoulders backwards and down.

Now that that the bar is placed safely, rev up those lats. These help you keep it in position through the entire range of motion.

I got tight before lifting

Like I mentioned in the point above you need to be tight but not just after you put the weight on your back. You lift begins well in advance. Doing it once the weight is on you can be tough.

So tighten up your core, press those glutes and get your lats fired up while the bar is placed on the rack. This too will help you avoid shrugging.

I gripped the bar tightly

Contrary to popular belief when it comes to bars and dumbbells a tight grip is crucial and has its own benefits. Death gripping the bar sends a message to your brain that you’re in charge, it applies pressure on the muscles and yes it’s safer.

Now when your brains knows you’re in charge you’re able to focus better and apply more strength otherwise it tends to stop you thus resulting in an ineffective and weak set.

I avoided moving back

So you are done with all the steps above and are ready to begin so you move back. Well, hold on there. You’re not out for a walk. It’s just a couple of steps you need to take. The idea is to move behind the rack. At professional levels the rack moves back. Wondering why?

This is because in moving backwards especially under considerable weight we often lose the tension we created before. This results in an ineffective workout and leaves you prone to sprains and bruises.

I created more space

When you move down there has to be enough space for your butt to fit and that’s not possible if your legs are near to each other. Do that and your workout will seem like a hinge and you are more likely to end up under the heavy bar as you won’t be able to drive back up.

I slowed down

You may not be out for a walk but neither are you in a race so what’s the hurry? Have plane to catch? Got a meeting? Or do you just want to get over with it?

You have put in a lot of effort to create the tension and yes I know it’s really heavy but by going too fast you’ll lose that tension. You will also find it tough to get back up so slow down and take your time.

I did it regularly

Be it any exercise you’re only going to get better at it if you do it regularly. Stick to the steps, be consistent and you’ll be a pro at it in just a month or less. Run away from it or be irregular and it could take you years.

 Still confused? Here’s a video demonstrating the proper squat technique

Mistakes Beginners make on biceps day and their solutions

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Strengthening the biceps is easy. A lot of curls are all that’s needed so what mistakes am I blabbering about? After all how hard can it be to screw up a couple of curls? Well look around, there are loads. Plus if it were that easy I’d be washing cars. On a serious note curls are as complicated as any other workout and here are some mistakes you beginners make and tips on how to avoid them.

You kick-off with a bad exercise

Does it matter which exercise you do first? Yes absolutely. To get started I would recommend a light warm up followed by a multi- joint movement. Now moving on to the biceps, begin with a standing exercise rather than a seated one.

Standing curls will enable you to lift heavier since it allows you to engage your lower body. Avoid overdoing and aim for a weight that causes muscle failure after 10-15 reps to maintain the right form.

You do similar exercises

Begin with a standing barbell curl, next the dumbbell curl and then the cable. Sounds familiar? A great mixture of all the exercises isn’t it? Yes but it’s wrong as all these workouts have a repetitive arm motion done with separate equipment.

Your workout will be more effective if incorporate different angles like we do for the chest with flat and inclined bench. Try different set workout like the preacher curls or the inclined bench curls. Also changing your arms position can help. Learn to do preacher curls below.

 

You take the curls too high

A very common mistake I have seen almost every newbie make is that they take the curls too high in order to complete the full motion The right way to do the curl is to just move the elbow joint while the elbow is placed on your side. This enables lifting the dumbbells or barbell to shoulder height.

When you move the elbows up your deltoids are engaged thus the moves effect of your biceps reduces and pressure shifts to the deltoids. Lift lower weight if needed but do not compromise with form.

You train biceps before the back

The most likely option is to train your back first and then your arms but if you have it the other way around you’ve got it wrong big time. The idea always is to workout the major muscle groups first and your arm muscles are fairly small and aid with back exercises like rowing etc.

Training arms first tires the flexors resulting in a poor, ineffective back routine. I suggest all my clients to train their arms a day or 2 after the back to ensure proper recovery.

You restrict motion to lift heavy

Yes lifting heavier is key to muscle growth but in that bargain beginners lift too heavy too early often compromising on form and motion. Doing half reps will have less impact than doing full reps with lighter weights.

Take your arms down completely rather than rather than bringing them up from midway. Check the mirror on the side to see to how low you can go. This is a tip to remember for all other exercises as well.

You begin with forearms

Since the forearms are muscles that support the biceps training them first will tire them out and forget a dumbbell or a barbell you will barely be able to hold onto your mobile. Leave the forearms for the end along with your wrists.

Not just on bicep day but even on other days prevent starting off with the forearms. These smaller muscle groups are always best left for the end.

 

Learn the top 5 bicep moves from the expert Rob Riches

8 Golden rules for a healthy Workout nutrition

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Like most newbies are advised to go slow for the first couple of weeks at the gym I do not see a reason why you should mess to much with your diet either. As time passes by you will learn the good, bad and ugly about dieting and nutrition but to help you get started on the right foot today I am going to share with you 8 straightforward rules of a healthy diet. Irrespective of any change these rules have always remained the same.

Protein intake depends on the bodyweight

Have you been wondering what’s all the buzz about proteins among fitness experts and trainers? That’s because they are the building blocks of the body and contain amino acids that build muscles, fastens recovery, strengthen bones etc. but only if taken in the right amounts? So how much protein does your body need?

That answer depends on your weight. I suggest 2 grams of protein per pound for the first 5-6 months and then lower it down to 1 gram. Pick foods like beef, fish, chicken and yes the king of the protein diet, Eggs.

For calories pick fat

Yes I said fat. Though not your best friend, it’s neither your worst enemy if you train well. Fat rich food keeps testosterone levels at peak which I guess you know aids muscle development, builds strength and also prevents weight gain.

For my fat intake I love having grilled steak or even beef since its protein rich too. Other ideal foods are flax seeds, olive oil, peanut butter, trout, walnuts etc.

Keep track of your carb intake

Next in line to proteins are carbs. Muscles store carbs in the form of glycogen which is responsible for fueling the muscles during an intense training session. To build up quick consume about 4-5 grams of carbs again depending on your weight.

To maintain current muscle tone yet stay energized 2 grams per pound should suffice and for weight loss I would suggest 1 gram. For carbs switch to oatmeal and whole grain breakfast. Vegetables and sweet potatoes are other sources.

Pre and post workout shake

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Confused about when to drink your shake? Simple, have it pre and also post your gym routine. These shakes are great substitutes for a snack thus consuming them at the right time of the day remains crucial.

Have it an hour ahead of your training. It energizes your muscles and gives you a head start on the recovery process. 20-25 grams of protein drink combined with 50-60 grams of easy to digest carbs is the perfect pre and post training refreshment.

Eat regularly

No not a plateful every couple of hours but you should divide your regular quantity is smaller meals spread out between 2-4 hour intervals. This is ideal for both bodybuilders and to stay lean as it ensures your body is constantly fueled.

Keep the meal size similar. Avoid any meal or shakes in between these gaps. You are also more likely to feel less hungry thus avoiding overeating.

Eat before you sleep

You’re not going to be eating for the next 7-8 hours assuming you sleep well and without food or water the body starts converting muscle fiber into amino acids which is not what one is looking for irrespective of whether you want to bulk up or get lean.

No not suggesting staying awake is healthy either. Instead have a diet with healthy fats and heavy proteins. Even a class of milk or cheese is good as it contains casein protein which ensures your body has a constant amino acid supply while sleeping.

Consume BCAA and Creatine

Apart from proteins other supplements like BCAA and creatine help with growth too and are ideal for both men and women and the best part is they have no after effects. BCAA reduces cortisol thus testosterone levels peak and muscle breakdown lowers.

Combine 7-10 grams of BCAA and 4-5 grams of creatine into your shakes for a better workout and faster recovery. To know the exact quantities send us details about your workout routine or get in touch with your trainer at the gym.

Is the Horizon Fitness M4 Indoor Spin Bike Really good? [Must Read]

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In case you want a spin bike that matches the standards of a gym and gives your entire body the right workout then you should consider buying the Horizon Fitness M4 Spin Bike.

It is an amazing spin bike especially if you want a spin bike that can take a large amount of weight.

You can lose around 1500 calories by using this spin bike for just an hour depending on the intensity you work out with. This spin bike has all the comforts one can ask for. Sadly, it lost it’s top placements in list of best spin bikes.

The Horizon Fitness M4 Indoor Spin Bike is fully adjustable and will definitely help you save the high gym fees because with this spin bike you will not need to spend on other fitness equipments.

An hour of spinning will give you your daily workout. It is an excellent spin bike whether you are a beginner or a professional cyclist and you won’t even have to spend much on its maintenance.

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Specifications

The dimensions of the Horizon Fitness M4 Indoor Spin Bike are 43 x 19 x 35 inches. This spin bike can take 285 lbs of user weight and it weighs around 88 lbs.

The weight of the flywheel of this spin bike is 42 lbs and the drive system is a chain drive. The seat and handlebars of this spin bike can be adjusted as per your comfort.

Assembly

Assembling the Horizon Fitness M4 Indoor Spin Bike is something you won’t find very hard to do. This process should not take you more that 25-40 minutes.

A good thing is that the box will come with all the various parts needed to assemble the spin bike.

Even the tools like the Allen Wrench are included in the box making the process easier. You will also get all the instructions needed for the assembly.

Features

One of the top features of this spin bike is the heavy flywheel. The benefit of this heavy flywheel is that it will exercise every muscle of your body. Each part like the waist, hips etc. will get a good workout helping you burn calories.

It also provides a high amount of resistance helping you get a high intensity workout. It also adds to the realism. The Horizon Fitness M4 Indoor Spin Bike comes with an LCD screen.

This screen gives you data related to your workout. Data such as distance covered, speed etc. can be tracked using this screen. Another excellent thing about this spin bike is that its pedals can be changed.

This spin bike has a knob brake resistance system which helps you change the resistance of the spin bike quite easily as per your convenience.

Conclusion

The Horizon Fitness M4 Indoor Spin Bike is an excellent investment and you will love this spin bike not only because of its features but also because of its relatively low cost. However, if you’ve got the budget for it then you should definitely go for a Keiser M3 Plus.

This spin bike will cost you around $500 and comes with a 10 year warranty on the frame and 1 year warranty on the parts.

4 Standing Exercises I used to Strengthen my Core

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Working out on your core is actually quite important. A strong back, ab, hip and glute muscles help you develop more energy and also protect you from getting injured and that is why most gym trainers tell you to concentrate on building your core as well.

Below in this article I have covered for you few standing exercises I used to strengthen my core.

For these exercises you will not need to go to a gym and can be done even at home if you have enough room. These exercises will also help you enhance not only your posture but also your balance. Note that working out on your core will also help you run better.

Standing Crunches

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For the standing crunches exercise you will need to stand straight. Once you are standing straight you need to breathe in and then raise your hands over your head and then bend backwards forming an arch.

The next thing you need to do is breathe out and then straighten yourself using your abs region in a way that your shoulder and hips are in the same line.

You can do this exercise on your toe tips to make it harder. Do this at least 8-10 times.

Squat with Leg Raise

To complete this exercise you need to once again stand straight. Just keep your knees and your toes angled outwards. Now you need to breathe in and raise your arms.

Then breathe out and squat down. Breathe in again and transfer your body weight on your left leg and raise your right leg upwards.

Once that is done you just need to breathe out and go back to the squat pose and then raise the other leg. You can make this exercise harder by lifting your leg as high as possible.

One Leg Balance           

For this exercise again you will have firstly have to stand straight and breathe in.

Then raise your right knee. Once you do that the next thing you need to do is breathe out and straighten your right foot. After this breathe in again and move your right leg backwards quickly.

Now breathe out and lift your hands and lean forward and while leaning forward also raise your leg. Do this exercise about 10 times before moving on. To make this exercise harder you can lift your leg higher than you usually would.

Squat with Twist

Once again the first thing you need to do is stand straight. Once that is done breathe in and bend your knees.

Then squat downwards and move your butt back and lift your arms over your head. Now you will have to breathe out and twist to your right moving your right hand outwards to the side. Now breathe in again and come back to the squat pose.

Breathe out and twist to the other side. To make it more difficult you can squat lower and move your elbow across the opposite knee. Continue this exercise at least 5-6 times.

5 Habits of Every Well-Motivated Runner

healthy lifetyle asian woman jogging at tropical park

All runners have certain habits that are good for them.

These habits help them run better. In case you do not know what these habits are below in this article I have covered 5 habits of a well-motivated runner

 

healthy lifetyle asian woman jogging at tropical park

Run early in the morning

Often it happens that we plan to run probably in the evening but then something or the other comes up and we end up missing it. To avoid this, the best thing you can do is run early in the morning around 6-7 am depending on your schedule.

Running in the morning not only gives a sense of accomplishment but also gives you a lot of energy which will help you get through the day. To make sure you are on time every day you can set the clothes, shoes etc. that you need in the morning before sleep itself.

Strength Train on a consistent basis

The advantage of strength exercise is that it not only enhances your health but also lowers the risk of you getting injured. Strength training can improve your running greatly. You should do at least 5-6 strength training exercises each day along with running.

Pick 2 exercises each for your lower body, upper body and also your core. You do not have to do all these exercises at one go. You can do some in the morning some when you come back from work depending on your comfort.

Cross Train Consistently

If you are having trouble running every day then you should incorporate some other aerobic exercises into your workout. Once you run on a regular basis other aerobic exercises like swimming, cycling or rowing can improve your fitness without having an effect on your running. Make sure you have the right pair of shoes, TheCrazyfeet has some good recommendations on walking shoes for men.

These exercises will help you engage other muscles of your body as well helping you get a better defined body. You do not have to do these exercises every day. Keep them for the days you do not run.

Consume more Veggies

Many of you may not like vegetable but you cannot deny the fact that they are loaded with nutrients and are quite low in calories which is perfect for every runner.

Vegetable also have good amount of carbs which get you more energy and also antioxidants that help you with the recovery process.

Keep in mind that you need not eat all the vegetables. Eat the vegetables you prefer. Also do not completely stop non veg since it is a source of protein.

Warm up before you go on a run

I am sure many of you may already have heard how important warm is before you run. Running can cause your muscles to tighten and thus there is always a risk of injury.

To avoid this you should stretch out. Stretching loosens your muscles. You should warm up for about 10-15 minutes before going for a run.

Make sure you keep your warm ups short and easy. Do not tire yourself out at the warm up stage itself.

Why I like the Stamina 35-1405 ATS Air Rowing Machine

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So, I got a new rowing machine!

The Stamina 35-1405 ATS Air Rowing Machine which is a good value for money home rower. As the name includes “air rower”, it is quite obvious that this rowing machine uses air resistance while rowing to provide the user with challenging workout. So let’s see what does this Stamina model has to offer to the customers.

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Metal Chain – This rower uses metal pull-chain, instead of fabric belts that are used by most of the budget rowing machines. This chain ensures durability and can easily withstand long powerful workout session. But, there is one little problem; the chain is not fixed properly which makes the rowing motion bit erratic after 15 minutes of workout.

Though taking the reputation of Stamina in consideration we are quite sure that they are working towards fixing this problem and will soon resolve this issue.

Seating – This rower is very comfortable to use. The seats are perfectly positioned and well-padded which allows the user to comfortably use the machine for long time. Also the seats are molded to the rail in an appropriate angle that provides the perfect rowing motion to user. It slides smoothly on the rail and allows the user to easily recover, once they have reached the finish of the stroke.

Foot Plates – To make this rowing machine more comfortable and efficient, it is fitted with large adjustable footrests which can support any foot size. These footrests have nylon straps attached to it which wrap around the foot, keeping them fixed to the foot plates therefore avoid slipping while working out. The nylon strap does not come lose and maintains firm grip throughout the whole training sessions.

Resistance – As the name suggest this rower uses air for resistance which is generated by large spinning fan. This provides the user with full body workout, helping them to lose weight and tone up all the major muscles in their body.

Air rowers usually make little more noise as compared to other types of rowers and this one is no exception. But the noise level not so loud and user can get used to it after some time.

Console – The rower comes with easy to use electronic monitor which displays several workout figures such as speed, distance, time, stroke rate and calories burned. The size of the console is small which may disappoint some users but it is compensated with LED backlit screen which allow the user to read the data easily even in low light.

Assemble and Storage – The ATS Air Rower is easy to assemble and comes with an illustrated guide which explains the process of assembling. All the required tools and accessories are included with the boxed packaging.

It is also quite easy to store this machine as it can be folded and can be placed where ever you want. This rower has caster wheels attached to it which allows the user to easily move it around.

Final Words

Stamina ATS rower is a budget rowing machine which is very comfortable to use. The sturdy built quality of this machine provides steadiness even at high intensity workout. This rower is definitely a great investment if you want a machine which can handle some serious heavy use and still will last long.